LONGMONT, Colo. — A memorial bench has been placed at Thompson Park in Longmont to honor and remember Rita Gutierrez-Garcia, who disappeared in March 2018.
Her family, with financial support from the community, had the bench made and placed at the park. Gutierrez-Garcia's remains have not been found, so the memorial bench offers a place for those who loved her, to remember her and be close to her.
Gutierrez-Garcia was last seen March 18, 2018, at 2:30 a.m. in a parking lot in the 300 block of Coffman Street. Longmont police said at the time that Gutierrez-Garcia was on the phone while walking back to a car with family and friends when she told them she'd catch a ride home with someone else.
Gutierrez-Garcia's family released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance:
“We still humble ourselves and kneel in prayer, with tears, begging God to be so gracious and return you to us. I feel comfort after a powerful prayer that we’re still under the same sky looking up at the same moon. We continue to have faith that we will find you and justice will be brought to whoever is responsible.”
Thompson Park is known to be a peaceful, beautiful tree-lined park that offers cool sanctuary on hot days and solitude during the colder months, Longmont police said in a release.
On Sunday, Gutierrez-Garcia’s family and Longmont Police Services hosted an event in her honor at the park to recognize her birthday.
A $10,000 reward for information that leads to Gutierrez-Garcia's discovery or for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect or suspects is being offered.
Longmont Police in July 2018 announced they identified Juan Jose Figueroa as a suspect in Gutierrez-Garcia's disappearance.
"He was a person of interest early on, and then the forensic evidence helps [us] call him a suspect," said Deputy Chief Jeff Satur with the Longmont Police Department.
Police said a few days after Gutierrez-Garcia went missing, Figueroa left town and went to Mexico. Investigators have physical evidence that Gutierrez-Garcia was in Figueroa’s white Chevy two-door-pickup truck at one point but can't say much more.
If you have information, call 303-774-3700 for the police tip line or e-mail tips to Policetipline@longmontcolorado.gov.
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